Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Images from a journey through Twin Peaks

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Images from a journey through Twin Peaks


First, let me mention that Part 4 of Journey Through Twin Peaks ("Laura is the One") just went up. Instead of posting these images with that presentation, I wanted to give them their own space. One of the most enjoyable parts of this video series for me has been using superimpositions and split-screens to juxtapose scenes from different episodes or films. I've also been mixing printed quotations with images, and Part 4 upped the ante on both counts. So here are some of the comparisons, contrasts, and complements I created for the final stretch of Journey Through Twin Peaks. I have included explanations and context to go with the pictures though you should watch the videos for the full picture. There are spoilers for Fire Walk With Me and Twin Peaks.



news clippings from Twin Peaks' reception in the early nineties


Deer Meadow vs. Twin Peaks




Fire Walk With Me reverses many of Twin Peaks' stylistic touchstones: impressionistic close-ups vs. distanced wide shots

individual perspective vs. eclectic ensemble

unremitting seriousness vs. playful pastiche

graphic revelation vs. spooky suggestion


The revelation of Laura's life fulfills the promise of the pilot...

...and there are many visual callbacks to the first season


John Thorne speculates that the first part of Fire Walk With Me is Cooper's dream. He parallels the way this section is structured with Laura's own dream later in the film.

Both begin with the dreamer (Cooper or Laura) not appearing in the dream, but as an omniscient observer of others' actions

Both then feature the dreamers themselves as characters within the dream

Both feature visits from time-traveling characters with a message from the Lodge (Jeffries & Annie)

Both characters gaze at a "double" within a framed image (Cooper's surveillance camera & Laura's wall picture)


According to My Life, My Tapes, Cooper's ring was given to him by his mother, a victim of a Bob-like spirit; there are interesting parallels with Teresa's ring in Fire Walk With Me


Throughout the film, visitations from the spirit world are triggered by psychological crises in Laura's and Leland's lives:
the Tremonds visit Laura with a message about "the man behind the mask" after she discovers missing pages from her diary...

...and they bring her a picture of an open door (that will transport her beyond her own limited reality in a dream) just as her world is becoming more claustrophobic

Leland's disturbing flashback of Laura and Ronette (reminding him of his murder of Teresa, as well as his daughter's sexuality) is immediately followed by Mike (in the form of Phillip Gerard) confronting him with reminders of the murder...

...and he wields Teresa's ring as a visual reminder

The final onslaught of Bob follows Laura's first open confrontation with Leland, when she tells him to "stay away"

The Theosophical concepts of Mark Frost: the dugpas (spiritual opponents), the Lodges (spiritual realms), and the Dweller on the Threshold (a spiritual challenge)...

...subtly evolve in Fire Walk With Me into Leland's ability to call upon Bob; the vaguely-defined, unnamed Red Room and room above a convenience store; and Laura realizing Bob as her own shadow self





Fire Walk With Me mirrors the structure of La Dolce Vita: a character's spiritual journey over seven days and nights, through decadence and despair, with the call of an angel at film's end











Inland Empire and the Log Lady introductions


Mark Frost's novel The List of 7 also incorporates Theosophy


Are The Missing Pieces footnotes to Fire Walk With Me...

...or do they form a bridge between the worlds of the series and the film?

Fire Walk With Me features many close-ups, quicker cutting, and a more prominent soundtrack...

...vs. The Missing Pieces' wide shots, long takes, and quieter soundtrack




The structure of Mulholland Drive (in which Lynch's abandoned pilot was attached to new footage and turned into a feature film) explores a beautiful, slightly unreal mystery in its first part and then reveals the psychological trauma beneath this...

...as if the Twin Peaks pilot had been joined to the final act of Fire Walk With Me




3 final statements on Twin Peaks


To further explore these and other connections, watch Journey Through Twin Peaks (Part 4 - Laura is the One).

Or start at the beginning with chapter 1 of the video series, "The Show About Everything."



2 comments:

Norn Cutson said...

Watching this has been a wonderful experience!
Thank you!

Joel Bocko said...

Just saw this comment now. Glad you enjoyed it!